Demetrius Jackson scored 21 points and No. 12 Notre Dame made its final seven shots to pull away for a 71-59 victory over No. 16 Louisville on Wednesday night that clinched third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jackson's 3-pointer with 7:52 left gave the Irish a 53-48 lead. He then added consecutive jumpers to twice provide nine-point cushions that sealed the victory for the Fighting Irish (25-5, 13-4 ACC).
He also had plenty of help from other teammates such as Bonzie Colson, who made a big jumper down the stretch en route to 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Jerian Grant added 12 points and Steve Vasturia 10 as Notre Dame finished 54 percent from the field and made 20 of 25 from the free-throw line.
Montrezl Harrell had 23 points for the Cardinals (23-7, 11-6), but missed several free throws as they tried to rally. Louisville finished 11 of 18 from the line.
Murray State's Steve Prohm and Cameron Payne were named to the Naismith Trophy semifinalist list for National Coach of the Year and National Player of the Year.
Payne, was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year this week as the Racers go into Friday's semifinals of the league tournament as the top seed. Payne, a sophomore from Memphis, is 13th nationally with 20.2 points per game and he ranks high among the national leaders in every other offensive category. He started the week ranked fourth in the KenPom.com rankings for national player efficiency.
Prohm led the Racers to the OVC regular season title at 16-0 and his team carries a 24-game win streak into the post-season. He has won 101 games in four seasons as the architect of the Murray State program that has kept the winning alive with this season's 28th straight winning season. His rookie season produced an amazing 31-2 record. Prohm is just the second coach in Murray State history to have four-straight 20-win seasons in his first four seasons.
On Monday, MSU cracked the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 24 and debuted No. 25 in the Associated Press Poll. It's the first time the Racers have been ranked since the 2011-12 season.
Naismith Trophy Men's Semifinalist List
Jahlil Okafor, Duke, Fr., C, ACC
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, Jr., F, West Coast
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga, Sr., G, West Coast
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, Jr, F, SEC
Cameron Payne, Murray State, Soph., G, Ohio Valley
Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa, Sr., F, Missouri Valley
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, Sr., G, ACC
D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State, Fr., G, Big Ten
Delon Wright, Utah, Sr., G, Pac-12
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, Sr., F, Big Ten
Naismith Trophy Men's Head Coach Semifinalist List
Scott Drew, Baylor
Chris Holtmann, Butler
Archie Miller, Dayton
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Bill Self, Kansas
John Calipari, Kentucky
Mark Turgeon, Maryland
Steve Prohm, Murray State
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa
Mike Brey, Notre Dame
Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State
Larry Krystkowiak, Utah
Jay Wright, Villanova
Tony Bennett, Virginia
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
As part of a 20th anniversary celebration of the UMass men's basketball 1995-96 Final Four team, the University of Massachusetts Department of Athletics announced Wednesday plans to retire a jersey in honor of John Calipari during the 2015-16 season. The retired jersey will be hung in the Mullins Center alongside UMass' five other retired jerseys: George "Trigger" Burke (32), Julius "Dr. J" Erving (32), Marcus Camby (21), Lou Roe (15) and Al Skinner (30).
The official date of the jersey retirement ceremony and other information surrounding next year's 20th anniversary celebration will be announced at a later date.
One of the most successful coaches in NCAA basketball history, Calipari's long-lasting impact on the University of Massachusetts is known nationally and across generations. The native of Sewickly, Pa., began his head coaching career at UMass where he turned the Minutemen into a national powerhouse from 1988-1996.
In addition to the 1995-96's team's 35-2 record and the Final Four appearance, Calipari led the Minutemen to the 1991-92 NCAA Sweet 16, the 1992-93 and 1993-94 NCAA Second Round and the 1994-95 NCAA Elite 8. UMass won five straight Atlantic 10 titles during that span as well.
Calipari was inducted into the UMass Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004 and was announced this past February as one of 12 finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
In his 23 years as a head coach, "Coach Cal" has guided five teams to the Final Four and is one of just two coaches in college basketball history to do so with three different schools. He led Kentucky to the 2012 NCAA Championship title and a runner-up finish last season.
With over 600 career wins as a head coach, the start for Calipari began in the Curry Hicks Cage. While his first season as a head coach saw the Minutemen post a 10-18 record, UMass reached postseason play in each of the next seven years culminating in the 1995-96 Final Four. All told, he finished his career at UMass with a record of 193-71 which stands as the second-best win total in program history behind the legendary Jack Leaman.
Undefeated through 30 games and ranked No. 1 in the country from the beginning of the season, the Kentucky men's basketball team has semifinalists on the lists for both the Naismith Trophy Men's College Player of the Year and the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year.
Junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy award, while John Calipari is one of 15 finalists for the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year.
Cauley-Stein, already a finalist for the United States Writers Basketball Association's Oscar Robertson Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, is averaging 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks for the 30-0 Wildcats. The Olathe, Kan., native has recorded 12 double-figure scoring games this season, including a 21-point, 12-rebound performance against then-No. 6 Texas in December.
The 7-footer leads the team in steals with 42 and has swatted 49 shots, second best on the team. He also leads the Wildcats in scoring (11.5) and rebounds (8.2) in UK's six games vs. ranked opponents.
Cauley-Stein is the first player in program history to amass 200 or more career blocks and 100 or more career steals, having achieved the feat earlier this season. He's also one of just eight players in program history with 500 or more rebounds, 100 or more blocks, and 75 or more steals.
Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, creator of the game of basketball, the first Naismith Trophy was awarded to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, in 1969. Anthony Davis became UK's first winner of the award in 2012 after guiding the Cats to their eighth national title. Other winners include Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan.
Each year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors chooses 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy as well as the midseason team of 30 candidates. The Naismith voting academy narrowed that group down to 10 semifinalists on March 6, will name four finalists on March 22 and announce the winner during Final Four weekend on April 5. The voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, bases its criteria on player performance throughout the season.
Calipari is up for the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year for one of his finest seasons in a long and decorated career. The sixth-year UK head coach has the storied Kentucky program off to the best start in school history and the best start ever by a Southeastern Conference team at 30-0. The 30 straight wins comprises the second-longest overall winning streak in Kentucky history and the longest such streak for a Calipari-coached team.
Under Calipari's guidance, UK leads the nation in scoring margin (plus-21.4) and field-goal percentage defense (.349), holding 18 of its 30 opponents to 55 points or less, the most in school history during the shot-clock era (1985-86 season).
Calipari, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame finalist, has already reached 30 wins this season, the ninth time in his career he's achieved that feat and the third time at UK.
Calipari was named Naismith National Coach of the Year in 1996 while at UMass and 2008 at Memphis.
Due to winter weather, the 1st Region Tournament boys quarterfinal games, scheduled for Wednesday night (March 4) and Thursday night (March 5), have been postponed.
Tournament officials are hopeful the tournament can continue on Friday night with the girls semifinal games.
If the girls are able to play on Friday night, all four boys quarterfinal games will be played on Saturday, with the first game starting at 2pm. If the girls semifinal games are unable to be played on Friday night, they will be played on Saturday afternoon.